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Jawbone Trail

Intermediate

Trail

1.4 mile 2.2 kilometer point to point
84% Runnable
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 11' 4 m
Descent: -553' -169 m
High: 2,011' 613 m
Low: 1,459' 445 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 8% (4°)
Max Grade: 18% (10°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Trail shared by David Hitchcock

A quiet, narrow trail with great views that descends from Prewett Point to the Jawbone Parking area.

David Hitchcock

Features River/Creek · Views

The West Entrance is open from 7:30 am until dark. Visitors can leave after dark, but you can not enter the park after dark. Biking is prohibited on all trails in Pinnacles National Park.

Need to Know

Restrooms are available at the beginning of the trail at the West Visitor Contact Station and at the Chaparral Picnic area. While there is some shade along the trail, temperatures can rise into the 100s in the summer and fall, so make sure to bring plenty of water and sun protection on your run.

Runner Notes

The trail is narrow, but free from rocks and roots that can make trail running complicated. If there has been rain, portions of the trail can be slippery, so mind your step if running in the winter or early mornings.

Description

The Jawbone Trail is a narrow, dirt trail that descends from Prewett Point to the overflow Chaparral parking area on the west side of Pinnacles National Park. This is one of the newer trails in the park, opened in the spring of 2017, and provides access to the Jawbone and Chaparral parking areas from the West Visitor Contact Station.

To access the trail, park at the West Visitor Contact Station, and run out the Prewett Point Trail for roughly a third of a mile. Here, a small sign marks where the Jawbone Trail begins dropping off to the right side of the trail. You'll notice immediately that the trail narrows and follows a singletrack around the side of the hill.

The trail descends steeply through the Chaparral environment common in Pinnacles National Park. Views of North Chalone Peak, the High Peaks, and the Balconies Cliffs spread out before you as you make your way down the trail. As you descend, you'll notice Spanish moss hanging on the trees alongside the trail.

At roughly 0.8 miles, you cross a wooden footbridge, built with the help of the Pinnacles Partnership. During the winter, especially after rain storms, the West Fork Chalone Creek can be heard as you follow the trail. For roughly 0.2 miles, the creek is on your left hand side, until you cross another footbridge. The trail leaves the creek, but you can hear it if there has been rain recently.

At roughly 1.2 miles, the trail descends some steps and crosses 146 as it makes its way down to the Chaparral parking area. Once you cross the street, the trail follows the road to the Jawbone overflow parking lot. At the far end of the parking lot, a 0.3 mile connector trail links the Jawbone parking area with the Chaparral parking area.

From the parking lot, you can descend into the Chaparral area where you can take Juniper Canyon up to the High Peaks, follow the Balconies Trail out to the caves and cliffs, or take the North Wilderness Trail deeper into the park. There is a restroom and picnic area in the Chaparral area, so take some time to enjoy the views, grab a bite to eat, and then decide where your adventure will take you. To get back to your vehicle at the West Visitor Contact Station, you either have to head back up the Jawbone trail, or try to catch a ride with someone back to your car.

Due to its location on the west side of the park and distance from the high peaks and caves, this trail isn't heavily traveled, allowing you to enjoy a peaceful run.

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  3.0 from 1 vote

#21515

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  3.0 from 1 vote
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#2,564

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#21,515

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66 Since Feb 24, 2019
Intermediate

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Photos

Views of the High Peaks and Balconies Cliffs spread out before you. It is a great place to enjoy sweeping, panoramic views of the area.
Feb 24, 2019 near Soledad, CA
You can see the footbridge in the distance. After recent rain, the West Fork Chalone Creek was full and provided a nice soundtrack for the hike.
Feb 25, 2019 near Soledad, CA
The West Fork Chalone Creek follows the trail. While the creek may be dry most of the year, if there have been recent rainstorms, you can hear it as it makes its way through the creek bed.
Feb 25, 2019 near Soledad, CA
There is some shade underneath the trees along portions of the trail. You can also see the Spanish moss hanging in the trees.
Feb 25, 2019 near Soledad, CA
Views from the trail looking down the canyon toward the Balconies Cliffs and the High Peaks.
Feb 25, 2019 near Soledad, CA
Views of the High Peaks from the Prewett Point Trail.
Feb 24, 2019 near Soledad, CA

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